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In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly traced to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest
The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.
The "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims to give thanks to God for guiding them safely to the New World. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days, providing enough food for 53 Pilgrims and 90Native Americans. The feast consisted of fish (cod, eels, and bass) and shellfish (clams, lobster, and mussels), wild fowl (ducks, geese, swans, and turkey), venison,berries and fruit, vegetables (peas, pumpkin, beetroot and possibly, wild or cultivatedonion), harvest grains (barley and wheat), and the Three Sisters: beans, dried Indianmaize or corn, and squash.
Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the "First Thanksgiving", including Pilgrim holidays in Plymouth in 1621 and 1623, and a Puritan holiday in Boston in 1631.
In the middle of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, prompted by a series of editorials written by Sarah Josepha Hale, proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863.
There is no evidence that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving, a three-day meal shared between the pilgrims and Wamponoag tribe in 1621. It is more likely that they ate venison and a lot of seafood.
George Washington, leader of the revolutionary forces in the American Revolutionary War, proclaimed a Thanksgiving in December 1777 as a victory celebration honoring the defeat of the British at Saratoga.
The fork was not present at the first Thanksgiving feast. What did they use to eat their meal with? A knife, a spoon and their fingers. The fork was not brought by the pilgrims. Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts introduced it 10 years later, but it did not really catch on until the 18th century.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade began in 1924 with 400 employees marching off from Convent Avenue and 145th Street in New York City. During this time the parade was accompanied not with the oversized ballons of our favorite cartoon characters, but with live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo -- from camels to elephants.
By the fall of 1621 only half of the pilgrims, who had sailed on the Mayflower, survived. The survivors, thankful to be alive, decided to give a thanksgiving feast.